EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State men’s soccer was battled tough throughout against No. 10 Indiana, before getting topped 1-0, on a first-half penalty kick goal, Sunday afternoon at DeMartin Stadium in the regular-season finale. Sunday was also MSU’s Senior Day, as the Spartans recognized seniors Michael Pimlott, Giuseppe Barone and Michael Wetungu in a pre-match ceremony.
MSU ends regular-season action as the No. 6 seed and will face No. 3 seed Michigan in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament next Sunday, Nov. 10 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in a time to be announced.
“This Michigan State soccer family’s close and what I really appreciate about it is we had a lot of support last year when we made the College Cup run and we still get that support. Maybe we’re not having the best year so it’s great to see guys come back and support them,” MSU head coach Damon Rensing said. “I’m really proud of Michael Pimlott, Michael Wetungu, Giuseppe Barone and Cody Sweatte. They’ve had great careers here and nobody ever has a perfectly smooth path of four years, not everything works out exactly the way you want to, but what I’ve been proud about all four of those guys is they’ve handled themselves with dignity and class and represented Michigan State. They’re great students and I’m really proud of all four of them.”
The Spartans had a slight edge in possession percentage, 55-45. MSU and IU were even in shots for the match at 10-10, with the Hoosiers have four shots on goal while the Spartans had two, as Spartan redshirt-sophomore netminder Hunter Morse had three saves. A physical battle throughout, the match ended with 26 fouls and two yellow cards issued.
Sunday’s game was back and forth in the early going with the teams swapping scoring opportunities. The teams traded shots and saves in the 27th and 28th minutes, with MSU’s freshman forward Gianni Ferri’s shot being saved by IU goalkeeper Roman Celetano and later Hoosier A.J. Palazzolo’s shot was saved by Morse. Less than a minute later, MSU sophomore defender Olu Ogunwale had a shot a minute later but it went just high.
IU got on the board in the 29th minute after Victor Bezerra was fouled in the box and Jake Maher score the penalty kick goal for a 1-0 Hoosier advantage.
“I just felt good about how we played all game. It’s disappointing on the penalty, I think the ref made a good call, I just mean disappointing that we gave it up. All-in-all we played really good soccer today. I thought we played things that will help us win, and I was proud of the team’s effort. We’ve got to execute a couple things a little bit better, but I think if we play like this in the quarterfinals, we’ve got a chance,” Rensing said.
The Spartans tried to counter just over a minute later getting another scoring chance, as junior midfielder Michael Miller’s shot was blocked and the ball rolled to redshirt-sophomore midfielder Alex Shterenberg, and he drilled a shot that Celetano dove and snared the ball. MSU had a couple other scoring chances, but couldn’t get a shot on goal.
First-half possession percentage was equally split at 50-50. Michigan State had a 6-5 edge in shots in the first half, but Indiana had a 3-2 advantage in shots on goal, with both Morse and Celetano making two saves each.
The second half was a fairly defensive battle, with neither team able to mount a consistent attack. MSU had a quality chance in the 72nd minute with Shterenberg’s shot going wide right.
Spartan junior forward Michael Miller had a shot in the 88th minute that was also wide right, and MSU was unable to mount another attack.